Archive for Monday, January 22, 1996


January 22, 1996


A local inmate who was arrested three weeks ago after he failed to return from a Christmas Day furlough escaped Sunday night from the Douglas County Jail.

Authorities were searching on foot and in vehicles in the vicinity of the Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center for Russell Dean Baston, 27, who escaped about 9:25 p.m.

Baston reportedly overpowered a corrections officer during "evening medication rounds" -- a time in which medication is administered to inmates -- and ran into a locked perimeter door, hitting it with enough force to break the lock.

He is believed to have exited down the north stairwell and out the northern door of the JLE Center, 111 E. 11th.

The corrections officer was taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital for possible injuries.

The damaged door was being repaired and all inmates had been secured, said Judy Osburn, operations coordinator for the sheriff's office.

Baston is awaiting trial for the alleged kidnapping, robbery and battery of a rural Douglas County man in May 1995. He also is a suspect in the battery of a 24-year-old Eudora man who allegedly was struck in the face during an argument while Baston was away from jail in late December.

Baston is described as a 6-foot, 220-pound white male with shoulder-length hair that may be worn in a ponytail. He also has numerous tattoos, authorities said.

Although Baston wasn't armed when he escaped, he is considered dangerous, police Sgt. George Wheeler said.

Baston was arrested in the 1600 block of Haskell on Dec. 31 after he didn't return from his Christmas furlough. His bonds in connection with aggravated robbery, aggravated battery and aggravated kidnapping were $5,000, $25,000 and $75,000.

Anyone with information about Baston's whereabouts is asked to call police at 841-7210 or the Douglas County Sheriff's office at 841-0007.

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